Game Review: Ultratron (PS Vita)

In their follow up to Titan Attacks, Puppy Games released their re-imagining of RoboTron 2084 on the PC  in 2013 but granted the rights to Curve Digital, who have brought many games to the PS Vita, for console releases.

The game is a twin stick shooter, with the left stick being movement and the right giving you a full 360 degree arc of fire around your character sprite – the last remaining humanoid droid, following the death of the last real human. Your mission being to avenge the human race by destroying their killers, the evil killer robots. The storyline is as retro as the game is.

Each level essentially consists of a box within which the evil robots appear – usually in swarms in the corners, at least to start with, and all you have to do is destroy them with your upgradeable gun. As you progress your targets require more on target shots to be taken out. As you take out the bad guys more spawn – and you have to be careful as they can spawn where you are (so keep out of the way of where they are likely to spawn next!) Complete a level and you are awarded with a multiplier upgrade to help that score mount faster, but taking a single shot or collision on the next level deactivates the multiplier and you are back to basic 1X scoring. Each destroyed bad guy leaves a “dot” behind (which is actually a coin as such, and bigger amounts of cash do look more coin like as they are larger), which you need to hurry to pick up as they fade with (not much) time. Occasionally upgrades such as external drones with their own firepower turn up to aid you in your quest for vengeance.

In keeping with Titan Attacks, at the end of each level you have the opportunity to spend collected cash on upgrades of various types in the “Omnicop Shop-o-matic.” The upgrades range from extra shields to “dot munchers”, drone repairs and EMP shocks, and again aid your mission to defeat each game area and the bosses you are tasked to take down –  Ieiunitas, Bellum, Lues and Letum – ten levels of shooting is between you and each boss battle making 40 levels – but once complete the games continues with the difficulty ramped up.  The usual level type is also broken up on ocassion by challenge levels which require a little more concentration, and the player beign tahnkful for some of the upgrades they have managed to carry over.

The graphics are appropriately 8-bit in design, but obviously not 8-bit in actuality otherwise the main sprite would be an assembly of a few pixels, but the complete aesthetic is supported by the music and sound effects which are similarly 1980’s/early arcade gamey in feel.

It is a fast and frantic shooter, that is without doubt, but the choice of colour palette isn’t the best meaning that on occasion  it’s a bit to easy to lose track of what’s on screen, especially when it’s a bit frantic – and all too often there’s a bad guy that appears as if from nowhere that’s has seemingly melted into the background. Black and purple bad guy sprites on a black and purple background don’t exactly enamour you to a game that’s already rather unforgiving. There are some special effects as if to make it look and feel even more like it’s in an old arcade cabinet – fortunately these can be switched off in the options menu as they just become tiring rather quickly.

Retro it is, in feel, in looks and in gameplay style, and essentially it offers an early arcade game experience with a lick of paint and a shop added, just as Titan Attacks did. It’s fun in small doses, and does certainly have that just one more go appeal of games from the era it hails from, but there’s nothing new here… but then, that’s not the point, is it?

Available on cross buy across Sony’s current three formats, the price is fair and with cross save at least you can switch between the PS Vita, PS3 and/or PS4 to “complete” the game – though it may not take you all that long to take out those four boss-bots.

Ultratron is a fair release – you pay your money and get exactly what it says on the tin, but there really isn’t anything about it that screams must buy. It’s a polished re-imagining, but it falls short of being as much fun as Titan Attacks, for instance, for my taste. If you want a fast paced retro shooter, though, Ultratron is competant and aside form the odd niggle (like the colour palette), it may well be what you are after.

Sven Harvey

At A Glance

  • Title: Ultratron
  • Publisher: Curve Digital
  • Developer: Puppy Games/Curve
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: Digital Download
  • Cross Buy: Yes (PS3 & PS4)
  • Cross Save: Yes (PS3 & PS4)
  • PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes
  • Local Multiplayer: Yes
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 181MB

Vita Player Rating - 06

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About Sven Harvey 47 Articles
A professional writer with a couple of decades of writing under his belt, including working on Micro Mart and Model & Collectors Mart, Sven was also the co-founder of Auto Assembly, and long-time Infinite Frontiers team member. This fandom veteran also heads up Geekology on YouTube, as well as the local sci-fi groups; Spacedock Birmingham (Star Trek) and Autobase Birmingham (Transformers), and is an Amiga fan as well!

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